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"I was a sixteen-year-old lad, and I was really not used to doing hard work, and I found out that the job I had, which was called a "wiper," was the worst the lowest job available on the ship, and I did things that nobody in their right mind would ever do." (Video Interview, 18:52)

   Donald F. Prior
Image of Donald F. Prior
Donald Prior [detail from video]
War: World War, 1939-1945; Cold War
Branch: Merchant Marine; Army
Service Location: US Maritime School, Catalina Island, California; Noumea, New Caledonia; New Guinea; Pacific Theater; Japan; also:
Rank: Major
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Donald Prior joined the Merchant Marine in 1944, just three days after his sixteenth birthday. Mr. Prior quickly learned the meaning of hard work when he was assigned the worst job available on the ship-the "wiper," who had to clean underneath the ship’s deck plates and crawl inside boilers and scrub them out with a wire brush. His service in the Merchant Marine ended with World War II, but Mr. Prior was again called to duty by the Army in 1948 because they didn’t consider his time in the Merchant Marine as qualifying as military service. He served in the Army in various roles until 1951.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (3 clips)
»Complete Interview  
Download: video (42 min.)
More like this
»They Also Served: Coast Guard and Merchant Marine
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (3 items)
Description of his duties as a “wiper” on board his ship. (00:59) Importance of military branches supporting each other. (00:53) Enlisting in the Army to avoid being drafted by the Army, which didn't count his time in the Merchant Marine as military service. (01:20)
  
 
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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